A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Woodchips: A Response

DSC_2267
With all of the recent wood chip controversy … wait a second. Let’s read that again, “wood chip controversy”. Did you ever think wood chips would ever start a controversy? Yeah, me neither.

I recently received another statement from Gerritsen Beach Cares, who have apparently decided to “clear up” the wood chip controversy once and for all, dispelling all of the rumors so the community can finally put this all behind them!

GB Cares is temporarily suspending the Parkland community service program.
As we await NYC Parks Department to reapprove our Parkland volunteer programs and activities.

Unfortunately, GB Cares was forced into suspending our volunteer community service work on the Parkland by calls to the NYC Parks Department and the misleading and poorly reported story on GerritsenBeach.net website operated by Daniel Cavanagh III. He was aware of many facts (though not covered in his story) and the confusion it would cause if he contacted the NYC Parks Department. He instead decided to mislead people into thinking the contractor was illegally dumping woodchips on our community and no one knew what was going on. He misrepresented the facts and made something that had been an improvement for the community into a problem for those who work to improve our community, as well as a loss to all members of our community.

GerritsenBeach.net website owner Daniel Cavanagh III makes a few pennies every time someone goes to his site and clicks on an advertisement. This may be the reason he created this controversy – i.e. to get people to go to his site so he can make a few cents from advertisers. He may make a few extra dollars this month, but the parkland and community will lose out on improvements that would cost tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars. It just makes no cents for the community.

The weekly program organized by volunteer Michael Taylor with volunteer community service supervisors Buddy DeWitt, Bob OReilly, Dan Durocher, Janet Behrens and Dan Smith, among others, will appreciate the time off. They have volunteered thousands of hours (some have volunteered 500 Saturdays) over the last ten years by working with the NYC Parks Dept. and the Brooklyn DAs Office (which provides community service workers) to improve the public parkland and make it cleaner and safer for everyone. This program, along with the thousands of volunteer residents, and support from local businesses, elected officials and the NYC Parks Dept. is the reason GB Cares has been able to accomplish the following on the Parkland over the last ten years:

1. Removing of over 1 million pounds of garbage from the parkland.
2. Providing and organizing over 150,000 hours of work on the parkland with volunteers and community service workers.
3. Coordinating the removal of hundreds of abandoned cars and boats from the parkland and shorelines.
4. Grooming and maintenance of one mile of parkland along Gerritsen Avenue from Channel Avenue to the dead end at the shoreline of Shellbank Creek.
5. Controlling the overgrown invasive weeds behind PS 277. The school had expressed concerns about people hiding in the invasive weeds, the softball teams could not find foul balls, and the soil conditions were not very good. This overgrown, tick and garbage-filled, area was changed by GB Cares. This includes the recycling of woodchips for mulch, which is used around the Parkland and provided, for free, to the public. We started by removing ten 20-yard dumpsters of garbage, planting thousands of daffodils and tulips and over a dozen trees in the area. GB Cares, working with the NYC Parks Department and an approved and insured contractor, has helped St. James, Kiddie Beach, GB Little League, GBPOA gardens, Olgas Bus stop gardens, and NYC Parks with free tree removal and landscaping services for years.
6. Locking up and limiting the entry at all the Parkland access gates. This has been done in coordination with FDNY, NYC Parks, Gerritsen Beach Fire Department and sport field permit holders. This has cost GB Cares thousands of dollars but it has been worthwhile in preventing abandoned car fires and other hazards in the Parkland.
7. Securing the park user entrance gates by the childrens sport fields limiting/stopping the Illegal access by ATVs and dirt bikes to the sport fields and children’s play areas.
8.Advocating the restoration of (1.6 million dollars) Seba Avenue Park and (1.3 million dollars) bathrooms. We started cleaning up the area, and over the years sent requests to the elected officials to fund the new Seba Avenue Park. Now the park is restored, and we are awaiting the new comfort station (bathrooms) by Seba Park that should be built in the near future.
Please Help GB Cares by calling 311 for all Parkland requests or problems you notice.
(Marine Park & Gerritsen Avenue)

It is important for NYC Parks to know what needs to be done and hopefully they will fix the problems or complete the request.

GBC Board would like to thank you in advance for understanding and the help with reporting the Parks problems!!!


Wait, what?!?
Suspending the community service program? Just to be very clear, the community service program has nothing to do with NYC Parks request for written approval of GBCares projects. Since when is it called the “Parkland Community Service Program”. Its always been the Community Service program. GBCares does not have to cancel the community service program, they could still use those workers to clean the other side of Gerritsen Avenue or the community gardens at the library or anywhere else.

As everyone can read, there is very little mention of the wood chips – so much for clearing up the controversy – , no mention of the legality of the dumping, and no explanation of permits, no mention of why the NYC Parks Department would not know about the project.

I’m extremely sad to say that there is nothing definitive from this statement that offers even the slightest bit of explanation of GBCares’ actions in this “controversy”.

In fact, most of that statement is an attack on GerritsenBeach.net. Big surprise there, as that has been GBCares’ clearest tactic since we ran the story. They say that we get “a few pennies” every time someone visits the site and clicks on an advertisement and THAT’s the reason I started this “controversy”.

Don’t take my word for it – read it again. According to GBCares, I’m in it for the pennies.

It’s true – I do make very little when someone clicks on an ad, all websites do. However, ad revenue was never my motivation for being concerned about my community. I posted this story with the same intent that I post any other story (Lundys, Back yard wrestling, ATVs, bus shelters etc.). I did it to separate truth from rumor and to bring awareness to our community. This story was no different.

The letter also says that the “community will lose out on improvements that would cost tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars” thanks to my story. HUH? How is that possible? First, the “improvements” weren’t even authorized by the Parks Department – the actual owner of the land. Second, the dumping of wood chips have apparently been going on for years. If there hasn’t already been any improvement as a result, when did GB Cares expect the “improvement” to kick in? After another few years of unauthorized and anonymous dumping? Isn’t it the responsibly of GBCares to make sure every project they do is approved?

But back to the letter – The only statement that remotely touches on the wood chips behind P.S. 277 is in the list of GB Cares’ accomplishments. It states that the reasons for the wood chips were that (1) the school expressed concerns about people hiding in the weeds, (2) the softball teams could not find softballs and (3) the soil conditions “were not very good”. It continues to say they use “recycled” wood chips.

WHAT??? “Recycled” usually means something being reused. Did they chop down the trees in the area to recycle them there? No, they allow an outside contractor to bring in wood chips from outside the area. Wood chips come from chopped down trees. So, someone cuts down trees for this mulch which, according to GB Cares, is available to the public free of charge. Presumably, for this to be true, the “contractor” would have to be insured and his work would have to have some sort of governmental approval (like from the Parks Department) for tree planting and removal. And by the way, did anyone know that they could get free wood chips? Me neither. Did the school also express concern for people hiding in the little league filed too? because there is also a tremendous wall of wood chips there too.

Seems like this letter wasn’t meant to explain anything. But, it seems like it was meant to go after me, and make this whole thing personal.

OK, so let’s get personal.

As the letter suggests, I was aware of many facts – and I still am aware of many facts. I did not disclose them because they had to do with me – not the story. They had to do with how I was warned, and later threatened, not to ask about what was going on. I did not want to become the news – I only wanted to report the news. But since GB Cares wants to try to scapegoat me, let’s let it all come to light.

A few months ago, I started to see a dramatic change in the area behind PS 277. When I went to go investigate, I was surprised by the shear size of the area cleared with the amount of wood chips dumped in the area. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the property. I had called Mike Taylor and he told me not to put this on the website and not to take any pictures of any machinery because it may cause problems with the Parks Department. I didn’t ask what problems, but I didn’t think it wasn’t an approved project. He continued to explain how he wanted to turn this area into a parking lot for PS 277. I thought that that would be a huge parking lot, and didn’t really believe that answer. So I tried to ask around locally but every answer I got was the same – stop pursuing this.

Faced with this stonewalling, I did as Mike asked and I let it go. A few months later, I saw the Dragonitti company actually dumping the wood chips. When I saw this, I went to take some pictures of the actual process. Instead of the driver continuing to dump, I was approached by the driver, who then high-tailed it out of there without dumping, as the area continued to grow.

Needless to say, this set off alarm bells.

Up until now, I legitimately thought this was an approved project. Now, I was concerned by this project. At this point, I reached out to the NYC Parks department to ask about the fire at Seba Ave park and to find out information about the wood chip area. Surprisingly enough they did not know about either of the projects. Now I was really worried. Who knew exactly what was being dumped. Could there be dangerous stuff in these chips? I went down to the site again when I saw the contractors dumping and took some video – and finally got an explanation that fit. I was told of an arrangement between GB Cares and the contractor where GB Cares allowed the contractor to dump here in exchange for GB Cares using heavy machinery owned by the contractor for various projects.

Wow.

But don’t take my word for it – watch the video for yourself.

Even in the face of this, I chose not to mention this information in the article because of all the good GB Cares and its volunteers have continued to do. I recognized that a lot of good people could be hurt by this one man’s actions and I didn’t want to be party to that. I did not want to hurt the organization by painting everyone who volunteers with the same brush. But something had to be said. So I wrote what I wrote, omitting the seedy details of threats and under-the-table deals because I did not want to hurt the good people of GB Cares.

I didn’t want to go down this route. Out of respect to everyone, I did not want to make myself the story and overshadow what’s going on here. But after the attacks on myself, I feel that I have no choice.

I never wanted to let my personal issues with this member of GB Cares (please note that I don’t go after GB Cares, just this one member) become the story when all I was doing was being inquisitive. But enough is enough. I will not be Mike Taylor’s punching bag. I will not let anyone slander my site, my civic-minded intentions without response, and I will not stand by and be threatened.

On a final note, I was part of GBCares for a few years, I was even asked to sit on the board. Granted, I did nothing on the board, just attended meetings but still. I volunteered to help construct the little league field, I was around for laying the concrete walkway, helping to go pick up and assemble the benches, etc…. I sat on a tractor for two summers plowing through the 6 foot high weeds at the Senior Field and the Avenue behind the guardrail because I wanted to.

My point is this isn’t about an evil plot to cause issues within the community, it was to bring attention to the area, there were many rumors about what it would turn out to be, I wanted to clear up those rumors.

So there’s the whole tale – if anyone sees my car in the Creek, please let me know.

46 comments to Woodchips: A Response

  • GBRES

    after reading your article, I certainly have a better understanding of what is going on. Here’s the problem If I understand correctly,GB is a small community, the Parks Dept. is the most inept of all the city agency’s and their ability to wavier on decisions is border line criminal, so GB cares makes a deal with a respectable contractor to borrow some equipment in exchange for a place to get rid of a s- load of wood chips. This is how the world revolves, favors are done on a regular basis. Who is hurt by this, Dragonnetti get’s rid of there chips, we get them, GB Cares gets to use there equipment, we get a nicer place to live and play. Again who is hurt by this, Dragonnetti charges the customer to dispose of the chips and pay’s for that disposal in the form of lending us their very expensive equipment, GB Cares uses this equipment to make our parklands cleaner and nicer, This to me is a backdoor deal that makes everyone happy and all interested parties benefit. This may come to an end thanks to the bozos at the Parks Dept. and the editors of this story. I am sure it was not done on purpose. The Parks. Dept. will put an end to it and all parties involved will lose.

    • Anonymous

      Who is hurt by this? Are you kidding The community is! First, you have “reputable” people cutting deals to dump materials that HAVE NOT BEEN PROPERLY DISPOSED OF on property THEY DON’T EVEN OWN NEXT TO OUR CHILDREN’S SCHOOL! Hello? This sounds criminal to me!

      Look at all the sh*t that’s been piled up next to the school. Would you want a contractor dumping their trash in your yard???

      So the fact that a backdoor deal makes “everyone” happy excuses the fact that it’s a backdoor deal? Community leaders are supposed to be better than that! What message does that send other areas – that we’re shady?

      How about the fact that politician’s money may be involved in this “backdoor” deal… no one’s mentioned that! If GBCares was getting this sweetheart deal, then where is the money that these politicans give them for equipment? This whole thing is just too disgusting for words.

  • GBProud

    The bigger question is maybe the Dept of Sanitation would be interested.

    And is anyone getting landscaping done on their private property for free?

    Why cut deals?

    Cutting deals makes both party’s guilty from the start.

    Itsn’t this land part of Gateway NATIONAL Recreation area?

    Interesting.

  • anonymous

    maybe the people in Gerritsen Beach will be hurt when Asian Longhorned Beetles start showing up because of those woodchips

  • Still waiting

    So were in the letter from Mike is there an explanation about the wood chips…Did I miss something..I know I can read…Also whether its underlining or obvious..I absolutely noticed a threatening theme with that response letter to gb net.. Hope it works out for the better here

  • Still waiting

    Oh by the way, why is it that someone got figured out and now like a child they’re gonna abuse, sorry, meant use, their power to end all other good, legit community programs… Sounds like a cry baby to me..here is some advice, to the wood chip guy..GET OVER IT CRY BABY

  • Anonymous

    you can’t blame the drgonetti guy for being nervous, does he know you put him on youtube? The parks dept is liable to try to track him down. This is a crazy world, you can do wrong by doing right.

  • Anonymous

    First of all who gave Mike Taylor the permission to allow a company to dump on Parks Dept Property,, does Mike think he owns that property? In exchange for use of the companies equipment??? Give me a break still seems like something
    going on here that is totally illegal.
    Don’t tell me that the dumping is for the “community” what benefit did this community derive from garbage which
    by all rights should have been dumped in a DUMP, this is garbage or waste that should NOt be brought to our neighborhood!
    Second the community service work, which according to GBC has been suspended were here again this past Saturday morning
    cleaning up just like every other saturday morning and guess what NO GBC TO SUPERVISE THEM, how in the world did they
    work hmmmm? OH WELL!
    Now finally all of the people who posted that the people were all volunteers that mike taylor had working for him, Cannot hide the truth anymore they are ACTUALLY FROM COMMUNITY SERVICE 0R the ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING program FROM THE kings county DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE LIKE I HAVE STATED MANY TIMES PREVIOUSLY, they did not volunteer they were SENTENCED TO DO THIS WORK. I have known all along since I done the paperwork for many of these sentences.
    Oh an btw, what happened to all that money that I saw in one of the posts that was given to GBC for graffiti removal ?????

    • Diamond Joe Quimby

      It has never been a “secret” that work was being done by people sentenced to community service. GB Cares still had this work done. They are the ones who went to bat with the local politicians. Would you prefer these people doing community service elsewhere? ALL CREDIT GOES TO GB CARES, where have you been? BTW graffitti is not nearly the eyesore it was, I think GB Cares is doing a great job.

      • anony

        your right GB cares does get all the credit, all the credit for for bringing criminals into GB

        • what-if

          Where does ALL the grant money and the donation money go? I know alot of stuff is donated…

        • yourallidiots

          @anony, Completley amazed at what idiots you all are. A good ordganization doing good for a community and one jackass stirrign up crap, stating that he mowed the lawns and now in the end the Neighborhood may loose it.

    • Anonymous

      It would be nice to go and get breakfast on the weekend without having to see a bunch of criminals on gerritsen ave. (every weekend)

  • Doesn't make sense

    Bottom line is you have no right to dump on that land period end of story. Second of all, whats really going on? and what is GB cares really afraid of from this coming to light? Sounds like someone is in trouble

  • Tim

    To Mike and GB cares ….these Johnie come latelies have no clue how bad the ave was 10 years ago…you guys did a great job….Thanks for all the time and effort…If these finger pointers would get involved in the neighborhood, instead of sitting behind there computer they would see the great work of many.It seems to me these issues are being blown way out of hand. Again good job.

    • Nick Lak

      Agreed.

      • GB CARES FAN

        Thus story has nothing to do with all the good gb cares does..It has to do with one project that is going on, which is 1:illegal, 2: does nothing for the community, 3: obviously very sensitive to someone who didnt think they’d be found out. Now I know they traded service for service, and if thats the case I can say with the utmost confidence, that the amount of times gb cares uses large equipment fails in comparison with the amount of times, and space the contractor used illegally dumping. This is all about one very poorly made decision made by one member in gb cares, and in no way is a reflection of the years upon years of great work the organization has done for all of us. This project needs to end, because it is hampering the good, legal work these volounteers do for us. And seriously threats to people who think the wood chips are not supposed to be need to stop. This will definatly make matters worse, and its childish..Only a real loser would make threats, and than back out of other projects…outta spite. Hope my child never learns to be that way, cause its a very ugly trait.
        So to whoever is makin threats, grow up. Admit that your unauthorized approval for this was a bad choice, and move on with all the good you guys unselfishly have and continue to do for our quality of life. Its real sad that you have put a blemish on the reputation of gb cares in a lot of peoples eyes, because of you “higher than God” mentality. Remember the law is for you to follow also. And think if gb net didnt bring this out would it always remain secret.. Its gerritsen beach, nothing is private here, like it or nit

        • Lets Just Squash It

          “Admit that your unauthorized approval for this was a bad choice, and move on with all the good you guys unselfishly have and continue to do for our quality of life.”

          -Sounds reasonable

    • Anon

      I was here 10 years ago and the Ave was just fine thank you.

      • Tim

        You must need glasses…..Gerritsen Ave used to be a mess…if gb cares stops their operation…im sorry to say it will return to the overrun weed condition and full of trash….Do u think the ave looks this good because of NYC parks and sanitation????You better start calling 311 now to get a crew to cut the grass and clean up.

    • Anonymous

      well said. Good Job. If anyone actually thinks this is a big deal you should get off your ass and help. This was doen to benefit all of us and not to line his own pockets etc.

      I think if someone thinks this is a huge controversey or something then they need to take their head out of the hole and look around every onece in awhile.

    • yourallidiots

      @Tim, Agree

  • Anonymous

    No more money from me for GB cares

  • bill

    the weeds are a mess on the ave…i think gbc was doing good for this community,,for you people who bitched about the wood chips,get over it you are a bunch of little cry babies!!!!!!

    • Jeff

      The wood chip deal was risky in a number of ways – residents have a right to voice concern with a pile of whatever the f sitting next to their kids. I think the comment about the Asian Longhorned Beetle also makes a good point. Someone made a mistake – lets move one. GB cares should just take corrective action and then continue to strive for a better Gerritsen Beach as they always have.

  • Bob

    Seriously…put on your big girl panties & move on…

    And yes parts of the avenue look great…don’t go down past Seba though. I lost a dog in the weeds in front of the barriers the other night.

    • bill

      i also walk my dog by seba ave..i have pulled 20 ticks off of him so far from those weeds..first time in 7 years

  • What happened to my community...

    No matter what, you guys have negative things to say. I will never get you people. How about worrying about your own kids or your own yard. …because they are probably all a mess..glass houses are everywhere!

  • Anonymous

    this is great and all but I want a real follow up like if they ever had approval, if they have approval now, for what they have approval, what’s the real reason for suspending the community service program. this can come from either gbcares or gerritsenbeach.net

    this is just what some would like aanswered.

  • Ex Nova Ct resident

    Com-on people. Did any of you ever think that GBCares might be going to use the wood chips for mulching and as ground cover to keep the weeds away from future plantings? Have any of you actually asked GBCares what the wood chips are going to be used for? Here in Joisey chips are used around trees to keep the weeds away and they look nice. They are also used in flower beds to keep the weeds down. They also make good walkways when packed down.

    • Anonymous

      THREE YEARS WORTH OF WOODCHIPS? what, have they been stockpiling just for this year.

      I don’t buy it.

  • Anonymous

    That is an awful lot of woodchips to put around flower beds and trees, why not offer them to the GB residents so they can use them in there yards, I went out and bought bags of wood chips for a border around my yard.

    But the question is what is happening with those woodchips, has the parks dept said it will allow the dumping to continue?

    GBC what is the story???

  • Trapper John

    It seems to me that these wood chips serve no other purpose than GB Cares’ back ended shady deal with the landscaper. They need to be more open about their affairs with the people who fund them in this community. For an organization that is based on cleaning up the community, the whole deal with the woodchips seems…..well, dirty. The irony of it all.

    • yourallidiots

      @Trapper John, Does anyone remember when all the Ball fields in fron tof the avenue wer euneven an looked horrible. Probably not, but Wood Chips were place dthere and turned into dirt which now allows a level palying area for people to park. It is all for the betterment of the community. You all are going to turn the GB back to the 1970’s

      • anonymous

        @yourallidiots, I do . and I was glad when the park dept fix all the fields 11 years ago .

      • Anonymous

        All it takes is one stolen car and the whole fields would be ruined.People who live here for life know what it used to be like "backweeds". And if your not from GB than you have no clue what it used to be like !

  • Anonymous

    anyone looked at the road by Larry Vieling field – wood chips are used there all the time to try and fill in the mud holes. that’s only one example.

  • Anonymous

    Can you People say Biodegradable…You got to be kidding me!!!Wood chips turn into the best soil after a year.It’s not like they are dumping stolen cars and construction waste like they use too when i was a kid. I personally use the chips and soil for my yard.Some people need to get a life.This is what we are left with now that you sunk to this low level. Weeds growing out of control along Gerritsen Beach ave. I hope you are proud for what you have done…You have taken the beauty away from the neighborhood. Keep up the good work!!! Maybe you can have Kiddie Beach Closed for playing dibble dabble off the raft without a divers permit. Why don’t you get out from behind your computer,fire up your lawnmower before my kid gets Lyme disease from the overgrown weeds at seba ave.

  • Mike Reilly

    Do not care….. That’s what this web site should read. Danny you’re a piece of garbage!!!! You’re taking something that is helping our neighborhood and turning it into something that is going to tear us down. Politics is all about favors, that’s what makes the world go round. Wood chips illegal ( possible) but I’d rather see that then burnt stolen cars.. and I would rather see an avenue full of lights during christmas , then a gloomy night sky. Seems like everyone has a motive. Just like you Peter Parker trying to land a job with a big newspaper .. perhaps Can’t just print the good news and fun photos of kids BAD NEWS is good news for you right!!
    Changing the world with this web site let me tell you.. Your just affecting the neighborhood which I choose to call home and the place I hope which creates many memories for my children. You obviously do not care about who and what you hurt to make a name for yourself…

  • […] What’s worse than woodchips and the subsequent woodchip gate?! […]